Postcript to yesterday's post: ePassion and ePublishing!
I am aware of all the idiotic, self serving nonsense the Vanity Publishing scams chunder out so nauseatingly, but I certainly never read the stuff: I may be Crazy but I'm not stupid!
However a friend sent me an example of an ebook put out by one of those "highly respected publishing institutions", with the promise of a good laugh.
The first chapter of the mighty tome promised shy, unsuspecting and naively aspiring writers fame and fortune beyond their dreams, world domination, invitations to TV talk shows, audiences with the Pope of their choice, housewives hanging on their every word, clamouring for every scribble...but wait, there's more! Three free suits, two ties, and a fully housebroken pet unicorn!
The body of the book however began with the not unsurprising assertion that no creative person, especially a busy writer "like you", could possibly deal with the difficult and challenging requirements of formatting and uploading an ebook, especially when there was more creatiivity to be taken care of
Therefore handing the manuscript to them for the necessary and painstaking formatting and promotion, and oh so challenging uploading to online stores would solve all a writer's worries.
The book went on in copious detail how to do exactly that: page after page of how the writer should format his book in several different ways: as an epub file, as a mobi file, as a Microsoft word doc. carefully formatted for print on demand production, and three other formats which to my knowledge don't even think exist, all the while stressing to be very careful and meticulous as the highly experienced editiors and formatters at this particular Vanity Publishing company could reject the files for even the slightest mistake, and that there was no obligation on their part to accept any files submitted by any author.
And the non refundable cost for this exclusive and comprehensive service?
Well : almost $1200 in upfront fees, as well as:
Total copyrights of the said manuscript transferred to them as publisher...
Total copyrights in all previous writing, including those already published, all current projects being undertaken by the writer, and all future writing: in perpetuity...
An exclusive, no obligation, prepaid enrollment to an essential book marketting course offered by the company, ( absolutely necessary because all marketting and/or promotion af any kind was the sole responsibility of the writer), valued at just over $600, with more courses on offer, on an ever increasing cost scale ( due to their ever increasing value) after successful completion...
And what do you actually receive in return?
Well a truly astounding 82% of the 35% royalty received by the publishing company from the online stores, where your book will be priced at $0.99c a copy.
Not to be sneezed at , heh???
But (I hear you say) I am a photographer, how does this affect me?
Well I suggest you read those small or hidden print conditions of acceptance for those photos you submitted for "publication", or those others you entered in those competitions.
And if you are model, it might pay to check out the small print fo those "contracts" you signed with that 'agency', especially the ones you never hear from except when there is money to be claimed, and those ones which "allow " you "to find your own work"
Yeah, ya gotta laugh!
But it really is no laughing matter, for thousands of people fall for these very scams everyday.
Only a week or so ago, a friend of a friend was over the moon, gloating on facebook how he had just landed an unbelievably terrific publishing deal on a book of (you guessed it) original poems, where after the sale of the first 75 copies, (for which he received nothing) he would receive the overwhelming royalty of 15% of cost price...and the deal was uncannily close to that outlined above.
And he could even improve sales by buying some copies himself for private sale or to give away to friends and family
I therefore plan to give up photography and writng and set up a boarding kennel for unicorns, so new jetset writers will have somewhere to leave their valuable pets while off travelling around the world on the talk show circuit , and having audiences with random popes.
No doubt I will make a killing!
I have been reading, researching and writing about self publishing since before it became
a concept,and even before the first book was written on the subject; way back when "Men were Men"
and "Books were Books"
Even now I still read as much as I can about the subject, despite the fact that eBook publishing
has become the global must-do fad.
However the past five years has proved that keeping up is easier to say than do with seemingly
hundreds of eBooks on the subject flooding the online stores.
Unfortunately it seems that the majority of these masterpieces are nothing more than
cut and paste agglomerations and dumbing down of the easiest parts to understand
of the great and not so great work which has gone before.
In true eBook fashion adopted by the get your ego out there as quick as possible "writers",
everything about writing and self publishing has been distilled into two essential points:
1. Spend chapter after chapter, page after page, paragraph after paragraph emphasizing
the simple point that writing should be concise, sharp, focused, succinct, short, brief, compact,
condensed and tight, with no excess verbiage, or unnecessary words, or redundant repetitions
or inclusions which don't add to the specific meaning, or simply belabor a previously well made point.
2. Editing should be accurate and meticulous, to the point of perfection, which is precisely
why these ebooks are litted with typso and speling misteaks, meaningless
stringszzxxue;//wzvx97@##--=- of letters, order word incorrect, pore constructionization of
sentenceliness, appalling grandma, and but then though all of a sudden all in all as
incomprehensible and difficult to read as your typical Nigerian Scam Email.
And as for self published eBooks about photography? Well apart from the very rare gem
worth reading it appears that most of the authors in the genre have taken to heart the
famous blog headline of recent times "Photography is so Easy it is Ridiculous"
without reading the context or understanding the irony contained within.
According to the majority of eBook authors who ramble on about it, the entire world, meaning
and rich history of photography can be reduced to gushings about "passion", "bokeh"
and "the rule of thirds", with of course the occasional name drop of "Ansel Adams"
thrown in for good measure.
I have managed to survive reading hundreds of these abominations, but those of lesser constitutions
who read just one or two, may find themselves inflicted by an uncontrollable desire to step,
no leap in front of moving buses.
A reminder of two years ago today: Two years ago Abby Callton, a 15 year old schoolgirl with an insatiable interest in theatre, dance and all kinds of performance, came to me, mother in tow, for her first professional photoshoot: some actor's headshots.
I recommended to her that due to her innate beauty, both physical and of personality, she could extend her versatility by trying some modelling, so the shoot was extended to a model portfolio shoot.
Although "resting" (meeting the demands of schoolwork) at the moment, the two years since this "discovery" photoshoot with me, Abbey has gone on to do several photo shoots as a very accomplished model, appearanced in several videos and short films, danced in a a number of stage shows, and played the lead role of "Sandy", in a local production of "Grease"
Just goes to show what the combination of beauty, determination, talent, proper training, a thirst for knowledge, an eagerness to develop and hone skills ...
and ( I say this modestly) getting a little help, proper direction and a professionally produced model/actor portfolio to begin with can work wonders for a burgeoning career